- ADA Compliance Applies to Both Offline and Online Businesses.
- Failure to Comply Could Result in Penalties or Fines.
- Hire a Web Developer for Online ADA Compliance.
Complying with the guidelines set by the American Disabilities Act (ADA) govern a lot of local establishments ranging from small businesses, restaurants and churches to large, multi-state corporations. But did know that ADA compliance applies to online businesses as well?
Online ADA Compliance
Any business that owns and operates a website needs to be compliant with ADA standards. And when it comes to the web, these standards are defined by a handful of things including image alt tags, screen-reader friendly colors, fonts that are large enough to be read and giving users the option to make adjustments on the fly. These adjustments may include highlighting links on a page, changing the page’s colors to grayscale or increasing the contrast, and of course, being able to zoom in on various elements of a site.
According to Jeff Romero, an SEO and digital marketing expert, failure to comply with these website ADA compliance guidelines could result in fines from the local government. “We’ve seen some clients receive penalties for having an outdated website that is not accessible to everyone, especially those who use screen reading devices,” he states.
If you operate a website as a business, it’s imperative to make sure it’s accessible.
ADA Compliance & SEO
Search engine optimization also comes into consideration when talking about website ADA compliance. Because ADA compliance makes a site more accessible to everyone, Google often chooses to reward it with higher rankings and more organic traffic. The site is also usually more trustworthy and passes Google’s quality guidelines. If you’re a business owner who works with an SEO agency or consultant, they should be focused on how to make your website ADA compliant.
Offline ADA Compliance
Not only does a business want to be ADA compliant with its website, they also need to make sure their physical location is accessible. These standards apply to any business that operates a physical location. This could include a restaurant, coffee shop, church, gym or office building. These locations (and the people who own them) need to abide by ADA standards to cover things like wheelchair accessibility, bathroom accessibility, parking lot markers and various signs in the building noting accessibility.
Failure to comply with these standards could result in steep fines or penalties from a local government.
What Business Owners Need to Do
First and foremost, visit ada.gov to gain an understanding of everything governed by the ADA and how the different compliance standards apply. Then, depending on your type of business and where you operate, you will likely need to hire contractors to make necessary improvements.
Online businesses will need to hire a web developer to make changes to the business website’s fonts, colors, buttons and more. Any developer will provide a report showing the work they completed and how it will help make a site compliant.
Similarly, for offline businesses, a contractor or construction group is needed to make improvements. These contractors will install accessibility ramps, make adjustments to bathroom accessibility and any other must-have changes.
What Are the Consequences If ADA Compliance Is Ignored
As mentioned, business owners could face heavy fines the from the local city the business is registered in. The policies change from state to state, but rest assured that someone is looking at your business for its compliance. Whether the business is offline (brick and mortar) or online, it’s critical to be compliant with these guidelines. And after all, operating a business that is more accessible to the public will likely turn into more customers.